According to a UNICEF report, 48 million Nigerians or 23% of the nation’s population still defecate outside.
The North-West geopolitical zone accounts for 11% of this total, followed by the North-East at 17%, the North-Central region at 47%, the South-West region at 24%, the South-South region at 23%, and the South-East region at 23%.
Mamita Bora Thakkar, the global agency’s manager of North-East Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, revealed this on Friday in Maiduguri during a press conference in advance of Sunday, November 19, the observance of World Toilet Day.
“Nigeria is worryingly off track with regard to achieving the SDGs on universal access to sanitation, with just seven years left until 2030,” the speaker issued a warning.
“We need to accelerate our efforts at achieving access to universal sanitation,” Thakkar stressed, pointing out that only 104 of the 774 LGAs in the nation are free of open defecation.
Taking a broad picture of the world, the UNICEF representative revealed that 2.2 billion people and 3.5 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water and safe toilets, respectively. 419 million people still “open defecate,” or use public restrooms.
“The progress towards achieving universal sanitation is worrisomely delayed, unequally spread among nations, and insufficient to eradicate and to guarantee that the most vulnerable are reached.”
“The world has to work, on average, five times faster to meet the sanitation target of SDG 6—safe toilets and water for all by 2030—on time,” the speaker stated, adding that only seven years are remaining.
Saying that “access to these services is critical to people’s health and the integrity of the environment,” she characterized drinking water and sanitation as human rights. According to her, November 19 is designated as World Toilet Day each year to raise awareness of the critical need for clean, safe restrooms.